‘ The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do ‘
– Galileo Galilei
After being in a hamster wheel for the last couple of weeks (if not months), I felt quite sluggish and it started to show on my skin. I was literally going through puberty all over again! The first thing I looked at in the morning was my skin, the last thing on my mind was my skin. I was not going to have any of it! The first time around was stressful enough! :S
So I decided to pull out my old bag of detox tricks and listen to my body ( which is always a good idea) .
I have a (more or less) healthy diet, I exercise, I do not drink or smoke and I tend to sleep my 8 hours a night before midnight. So why the sudden burst of blemish? Was it an after effect from my strenuous hours throughout my PHD? my lengthy to do lists during the day? or just simply my monkey mind consolidating into my physical body? Either way the answer was in grapes, grapes and even more grapes.
The Grape Cure
If you want to lighten up, purify or tune in a body too often neglected , the grape cure can be a wonderful facilitator. Appreciated by Greeks, Arabs and Romans in ancient times, it was revealed for the first time by professor Desbois de Rochefort in 1789 and was soon popularised by Johanna Brandt, a naturopath from South Africa in 1925.
Her story on her triumph over cancer with a grape diet was published in a book in 1928 as ‘The Grape Cure‘ and republished in 1989 as ‘How to Conquer Cancer, Naturally’. It was soon described as “quackery” by some scientific bodies who found no evidence of benefit against human cancer or any other disease while others are still using the extraction of grape compounds for cancer preventions.
Nevertheless, in France, by the late 30’s, thirteen cities were created revolving around ‘The Grape spa’: Avignon, Beziers, Colmar, Fontainebleau, Lamalou-les-Bains, Thor, Moissac, Montpellier, Nîmes, Prayssac, Port-Sainte-Marie Tarascon and Tours. Skin-care brands such as Estée Lauder and, of course, Caudalie have already put its properties to work to combat ageing.
Today, it is mainly used for its regenerating, energising , purifying and relaxing properties and has among its followers, the occasional and the regular. It targets overweight problems, constipation, skin problems, arthritis , rheumatism, digestive and intestinal disorders such colic, gas, bloating, diarrhoea and stomach heaviness as well as insomnia and fatigue. It is not recommended for the sick and diabetic and (as always) please read my disclaimer in this category before trying anything.
With a high water content, the grape is a diuretic fruit and has great amounts of fibre. Therefore, it purifies the intestines , the kidneys and the liver.
It is also rich in minerals: potassium (which reduces blood pressure and regulates the heart rate) , phosphorus, calcium , iron , selenium (which stimulates the immune system among other properties), magnesium , sulphur, copper, zinc , carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B5, and P.
The natural pigments (P) concentrated in the skin and seeds (anthocyanins and bioflavonoids) enhance the action of vitamin C and have the commonly known antioxidant properties.
The grape is a natural tonic, it is considered the fastest in regenerating damaged tissues and its blood purification functions are quite remarkable.
White grapes are sweeter than black ones and have less vitamins. In addition, the black grape have an exclusive pigment, quercetin, which protects the cardiovascular system and promotes digestion but it does sometimes irritate sensitive stomachs.
What is the action plan?
The Grape cure works best when combined with organic grapes thus at its seasonal best – September/October ( see my post on seasonal foods for Autumn) .
But you can also use it when (like me) you feel sluggish or need to get rid of those extra pounds! It is best however to buy organic untreated grapes to prevent digestive irritation.
Before the cure do try to lighten up your meals for 2-3 days with lots of vegetables and fruits. Then prepare your body slowly by removing all animal products, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and chocolate! Some people like to start with an intestinal cleansing by using mild laxative tablets made of plants or 20g of magnesium sulphate diluted in warm water to ‘free’ the colon and intestines! But I personally prefer to just cut down naturally.
During the cure do eat at least 2-3 kg per day of mixed white and black grapes in 6-7 small meals ( every 2-3 hours) all the while trying to consume the skin and seeds ( for your antioxidants and fibre) after a good wash!
I was actually appalled by the chain of supermarkets including organic markets such as ‘Wholefoods’ that sold exclusively seedless grapes! I had to search far and wide for a small local farm shop to have ones with seeds!
The most advisable kinds for the cure are Chasselas and Muscat for a period of 3-5 days, while drinking lots of water and unsweetened herbal teas. For a cure of over 7 days it is best to be under supervision or in a ‘Grape Spa’ for full support.
Side effects in the first day or two may include: Headaches , common cold , constipation or diarrhoea which are all signs of detoxification and powerful cleansing. If effects continue and are uncomfortable please stop the cure immediately.
After the cure it is very important to rehabilitate the digestive tract by gradually resuming a normal diet in half the time of the cure! Starting with vegetables and fruits and finishing with meat last.
Some Grape Spas to go to…
- Château Smith Haut Lafitte (France)
- Adler Thermae Spa Resort (Italy)
- Hotel Adria ( Italy)
- Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa (Australia)
- Patios de Cafayate Hotel & Winespa (Argentina)
Some Books to read…
- The Grape Cure by Johanna Brandt
- The Detox Mono Diet: The Miracle Grape Cure and Other Cleansing Diets by Christopher Vasey N.D.
Happy Grape Detox!